Paul said, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come; nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
I was driving to Atlanta recently to preach the funeral of a very dear friend. This thought leaped from my mind. I have lived a long time and my work on earth will soon be finished. I am not afraid to die. I have lived 86 years. I pray each day, “Lord, not my will, but Your will be done.”
I was born into a Christian family. God has blessed me beyond anything I could ever merit. My grandparents and parents were dedicated Christians. My sister and three brothers are all Christians. Many of them are now living in that home God prepared for them. I can’t think of anything I would change if I could.
God brought me an angel when I was 16 years old. She was a saint, and we married and lived together fifty-seventy wonderful years, and God gave us two sons, who brought us two lovely daughter-in laws. Later, they were blessed with seven beautiful daughters and two handsome boys. They are blessings we could never deserve. I have preached the gospel around most of the world. After living all these years, I know the best is yet to be.
I am sure you can say with me, no matter how exciting, wonderful and full your life has been, or how many trials and tribulations you have conquered, life has been good. It is a gift from God. I expect if we had the chance to do it again, we would gladly accept the challenge, and most of us would do a better job on the second round. Young people should focus on living life to its fullest. If we learn to love God with all our strength, mind and soul, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we will not fear death.
Thomas Ken wrote this line in a hymn, “Teach me to live that I may dread the grave as little as my bed.” William James said, “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” John said in Revelation, “You shall have tribulations, be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10)
I do know that if you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself, you will walk down those streets of gold to the house not made with hands that God prepared for you.
Life and death come to all living creatures. God never intended us to live forever in this world of trials and tribulations. Never forget, life is eternal. One day soon, I hope to meet the Christ who died for me, and see a host of loved ones and friends who outran me to the Father’s house.
If we expect great things from God, He will satisfy our deepest longings. Do not forget John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Death is not the enemy, it is the friend who opens the door to eternity, where there is no parting or tears. The Bible tells us, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”